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Magic: The Gathering – 2022’s Standard Rotation, Explained

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  • What Is Set Rotation?
  • Why Do Sets Rotate?
  • When Is Set Rotation?
  • What Is the Set Rotation In September 2022?
  • What Can Do I Do With My Old Standard Cards?

With the launch of Dominaria United, Magic: The Gathering is going through a period of major change, The annual set rotation will shakeup multiple formats, and many of your older decks may no longer be legal.

Rotation is one of the trickiest things for new Magic players to understand, but it’s essential to know not just why rotation happens, but also which sets will be coming and going.

What Is Set Rotation?

Magic: The Gathering formats are split into three categories: eternal, nonrotating, and rotating.

In rotating formats, the most popular of which being Standard, but also Brawl and Alchemy, sets will enter the format when they launch, but will then leave it after a period of time, after which they can no longer be played. This is known as rotating out. All rotating formats share the same set rotation – meaning if something has rotated out of Standard, it has also left Alchemy and Brawl.

This contrasts with the two other types of format: eternal, which can use any card ever released (such as Commander, Vintage, and Legacy), and nonrotating, which only allows certain sets but never has them leave once they enter (such as Pioneer and Modern). These do not rotate, meaning the cards you’ve been playing in Standard, Alchemy, or Brawl today will still be legal in them when rotation happens.

Sets stay in Standard rotation for anywhere between 14 months and two years, depending on when they launched. For example, Zendikar Rising launched in September 2020, and will therefore enjoy a whole two years (24 months) in Standard, while Adventures in the Forgotten Realms launched ten months later in July 2021, and will rotate out at the same time after just 14 months.

Why Do Sets Rotate?

While newcomers often see set rotation and think of it as a way to force people to keep buying new cards, rotation is actually incredibly important for the overall health of Magic.

The reason some formats rotate is for the sake of balance. Rotation ensures that a set doesn’t permanently alter the format – for instance, Throne of Eldraine was an infamously overpowered Standard set, but the problem self-corrected itself when it rotated out in September 2021. Had rotation not been a thing, we’d still be dealing with cards like Embercleave and The Great Henge to this day.

The second reason is for diversity. While eternal and nonrotating formats can have a much larger array of decks that are viable within them, they also tend to stay in play for a lot longer. Rotating formats change and evolve more frequently, allowing archetypes that were less viable pre-rotation play a much bigger role afterwards.

When Is Set Rotation?

Set rotation will happen on September 9, 2022, with the launch of Dominaria United.

The last rotation was in September 2021 with the launch of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, and saw Throne of Eldraine, Theros: Beyond Death, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, and Core 2021 rotate out.

What Is the Set Rotation In September 2022?

With the launch of Dominaria United on September 9, the set rotation will occur again, and we’ll be losing four sets from the current line-up.

Generally, rotation happens with the launch of the Autumn Set, which will then see the four oldest leave rotation. This year, we will be saying goodbye to the sets Zendikar Rising, Kaldheim, Strixhaven: School of Mages, and Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures In The Forgotten Realms. This means that the oldest Standard-legal set after rotation will be Innistrad: Midnight Hunt.

As Alchemy is still a new format, none of the Alchemy-specific sets are rotating out this year. The first time we’ll see any Alchemy-exclusive cards leave the format is in 2023 when Alchemy: Innistrad, Alchemy: Kamigawa, Alchemy: New Capenna, and Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate rotate out at the same time as Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, Innistrad: Crimson Vow, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, and Streets of New Capenna.

Rotating Sets 2020 – 2023
Leaving September 2022 Leaving September 2023 Leaving September 2024
Zendikar Rising
Kaldheim
Strixhaven: School Of Mages
Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures In The Forgotten Realms
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt
Innistrad: Crimson Vow
Alchemy: Innistrad
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
Alchemy: Kamigawa
Streets Of New Capenna
Alchemy: New Capenna
Alchemy Horizons: Baldur's Gate
Dominaria United
The Brothers' War
TBA (Q1 2023)
TBA (Q2 2022)

Italicised titles are Magic: The Gathering Arena-exclusive sets for the Alchemy and Historic formats. They will not rotate out of Historic.

What Can Do I Do With My Old Standard Cards?

As mentioned, rotation only affects rotating formats like Standard, Brawl, and Alchemy.

Your Zendikar Rising, Kaldheim, Strixhaven, and Forgotten Realms cards will be usable in Commander, Vintage, Legacy, Pioneer, Pauper, Explorer, Historic, and any other format that doesn’t use set rotation.

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